Thursday’s meeting of the Nevada Gaming Commission saw regulators give their final thumbs-up to Ultimate Gaming, the folks behind the state’s first licensed online poker site, Ultimate Poker. The Commission heard testimony from Ultimate Gaming CTO Chris Derossi, who said the site had dealt 9.1m hands since its late April debut, and while there had been a few glitches, the company had responded both swiftly and appropriately when required.
The chief complaint apparently centred around Ultimate Poker’s geolocation system being too strict, with players located in a 1.5km ‘buffer zone’ near the state’s borders occasionally finding their access to the site blocked. Commission chairman Pete Bernhard noted that online comments he’d read had criticized Ultimate Poker’s games for not being “as sophisticated” as games offered by online poker sites licensed outside Nevada. Ultimate Poker chose to launch a bare-bones site in order to enjoy a first-to-market advantage, but Derossi says imminent upgrades would up Ultimate’s game. (On Thursday, Ultimate Poker CMO Joe Versaci tweeted that the next generation client was coming “in days.”)
Ultimate Gaming’s ambitions beyond Nevada took on tangible form a month ago with the inking of a deal with Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal casino, positioning Ultimate Gaming to be ready for the New Jersey online gambling market’s mid-November ‘go live’ date. Meanwhile, the company recently hired Mike Britt as its VP of market development and government affairs. Britt has experience in US federal politics, and will be expected to sing Ultimate’s praises while advocating for (among other things) a federally regulated online poker system.
STATION JOINS THE MOBILE SPORTS BETTING PARTY
Meanwhile, Ultimate Gaming’s parent company, Nevada-based casino operator Station Casinos, recently completed a field trial of its new Sports Connection Mobile sports betting app. Station competitors Cantor Gaming and William Hill US have offered intrastate mobile sports wagering for a couple years now, but Station apparently believes in the adage of better late than never. With the field trial of its iOS and Android versions complete, Station will begin actively promoting their app in order to be ready for the kickoff of a new football season in September.
Station is touting the main difference between its app and those of its competitors, namely, the ability to incorporate wagers into Station’s in-house rewards program. Customers will earn points via the app that can be redeemed for meals, free slot play or sports bets at Station properties. Customers can apply for a mobile wagering account at any Station sportsbook in Nevada and can top up their accounts via credit or debit card. Station VP Art Manteris told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that mobile wagering “keeps a customer in the game” when “life gets in the way.”